Mosaic anticipates need for mental health assistance to increase

Due to the Affordable Care Act's expanded health insurance coverage, Jeff Richardson said he expects to see increasing numbers of individuals seeking out mental health care in 2014.

Richardson is executive director of Mosaic Community Services, which is committed to fighting the stigma of mental illness in Catonsville and throughout the state of Maryland.

Founded in 1984, the nonprofit provides services for individuals with mental health, addiction and disability-based needs. The organization operates several community mental health centers in Maryland, including one in Catonsville on Bloomsbury Avenue.

Mosaic serves individuals and families of all ages, and its mental health centers are staffed with physicians, nurses and therapists.

Along with traditional rehabilitation and therapy programs, the organization offers patient services ranging from adult day care to residential housing and in-home mobile treatment.

"We are very focused on providing comprehensive care to folks," said Jeff Richardson, Mosaic's executive director.

Support services are a major priority for Mosaic.

In Catonsville, Mosaic runs a vocational program that helps individuals find jobs and, in some cases, gives them on-site job coaching.

"We've had some great partners in Catonsville and everywhere we work that are open to employing people with mental health needs," Richardson said.

Mosaic also has an educational partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County, which helps staff its on-site rehabilitation programs and provides GED and degree training for patients.

The college is "a huge resource and an enormous support," Richardson said.

Despite the stigma of mental illness, individuals who seek out help in a supportive environment are often treated successfully, Richardson said.

Mosaic has been able to help many Catonsville residents, he said, due in part to the tight-knit support networks in the community.

"We all know people who struggle with mental illness and addiction," he said. "The majority of the folks that we serve are people that are your neighbors."

"I think [Mosaic's] an incredible program," said Cal Oren, former president of the Catonsville Rotary Club.

"They do a lot of this right under our noses, right in Catonsville," he said.

Christiane Walker, Mosaic's chief development officer, is currently a member of the rotary club.

Oren said the club is eager to support Mosaic, just as it currently raises money for local nonprofits such as the Loverde Family Community Fund, Catonsville Emergency Food Ministries and the Westside Emergency Men's Shelter.

He said the club has discussed creating an special card to use at Catonsville businesses that would raise money for Mosaic and other nonprofits. But it has struggled to find a third-party partner to implement the technology behind the program. Nonetheless, the club is exploring ways to incorporate Mosaic into its philanthropy budget for the next fiscal year.

"We're very interested in doing all we can to help them," Oren said.

Mosaic's biggest challenge, Richardson said, is making sure it can maintain a sufficient number of clinicians and professionals to meet the demands of the communities the organization serves. In order to address this, Mosaic is working closely with primary care practices and hospitals in Maryland to assist them with their mental health care services.

Mosaic's strategy for fighting the stigma of mental illness is twofold, Richardson said. The organization works to spread awareness about getting help and treatment, and it provides a host of services tailored to people and their individual challenges.

"It's very hard for people to identify how and when to get the help they need," he said. "There are resources available, and there are ways to access that help."

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